Development of nanoscale approaches for ovarian cancer therapeutics and diagnostics

Crit Rev Oncog. 2014;19(3-4):281-315. doi: 10.1615/critrevoncog.2014011455.


Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynecological cancers and the fifth leading cause of death due to cancer in women. This is largely due to late-stage diagnosis, poor prognosis related to advanced-stage disease, and the high recurrence rate associated with development of chemoresistance. Survival statistics have not improved significantly over the last three decades, highlighting the fact that improved therapeutic strategies and early detection require substantial improvements. Here, we review and highlight nanotechnology-based approaches that seek to address this need. The success of Doxil, a PEGylated liposomal nanoencapsulation of doxorubicin, which was approved by the FDA for use on recurrent ovarian cancer, has paved the way for the current wave of nanoparticle formulations in drug discovery and clinical trials. We discuss and summarize new nanoformulations that are currently moving into clinical trials and highlight novel nanotherapeutic strategies that have shown promising results in preclinical in vivo studies. Further, the potential for nanomaterials in diagnostic imaging techniques and the ability to leverage nanotechnology for early detection of ovarian cancer are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liposomes
  • Nanotechnology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Liposomes